'O Canada!' Team On Top At U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix

Mike Riddle. <em>via Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team</em>

Mike Riddle. via Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team

Canadian Team takes two Golds and a Silver at VISA US Halfpipe Grand Prix

From Trennon Paynter, Coach, Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team (Copper Mountain, Colo.) — In an complete turnaround from the perfect weather and bluebird skies that blessed the qualifying heats two days earlier, Friday’s US Halfpipe Grand Prix Final was hit by clouds, wind, and steady snowfall. Despite these challenging conditions, the event was a great success, particularly for Canadian Team members Roz G (Rosalind Groenewoud), Justin Dorey, and Mike Riddle!

In the women’s event, Roz, due to winning the qualifying rounds, was the final skier to drop. The first run saw many of the competitors struggle with the bad light and snowy conditions. Even American Jen Hudak, one of the favorites in the event, had an uncharacteristic fall, leaving the door wide open for Roz to take control of the event early. Seemingly impervious to any of the weather related challenges, Roz dropped into the pipe and hit a near perfect first run, consisting of a Straight air, to right 900, to left 540, to right 540, to left 360, to switch right 540. Roz was rewarded for her amplitude and technicality with a score of 45 (out of a possible 50), giving her a lead over the rest of the field by almost ten points!

Rosalind Groenewoud. <em>via Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team</em>

Rosalind Groenewoud. via Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team

The second run saw many of the women step up their game, and when Hudak, running just before Roz, came through with a clean performance, everyone in attendance was wondering if it might be enough to bump Roz from the top spot. The score came in at 43 points, putting her in second place, and leaving Roz to ski her final run of the day as a victory lap, with the gold medal ensured due to the “best of two run” format.

To add some icing to the occasion, it also happened to be Roz’s 21st birthday, and as she basked in the glory of her victory, she was treated to a lively chorus of “happy birthday” from the competitors and crowd.

On the men’s side of things, we were in a similar position as far as the running order for the final.  Justin Dorey and Mike Riddle were the final two skiers to drop, by virtue of their first place (Mike) and second place (Justin) results in the qualifiers. The conditions seemed to take their toll on many of the mens field, with some of the top guns opting for easier run combinations than they had gone for in the qualifiers.

When Justin dropped in it was obvious that he was not going to let the conditions affect his game plan, and he started his run with a huge doublecork 1260. Unfortunately he was not quite able to land it perfectly, and despite doing an admirable job of holding it together and finishing his run clean, the mistake was enough to keep him out of the top three spots.

Mike’s first run started with the same trick as Justin, a doublecork 1260, and he stomped the hell out of it! Flowing into the rest of his run (right 900, to left 900, to alleyoop flatspin 360, to switch 900), Mike came across the finish line to the cheers of the crowd who knew that this was without a doubt the run of the day so far. The score came in at 47.1, almost perfect, and many of the athletes in attendance were convince that it was a score that would be untouchable, and the talk began to revolve around who was going to get second place, as it appeared that Mike had the victory locked up.

However, there was still a second run for all the competitors, and for a few minutes the weather began to clear, giving the skiers an opportunity to better their first run scores. American Simon Dumont dropped in and laid down a near perfect fun of his own, with his trademark amplitude and big tricks, finishing off with a great flatspin 720 to switch 720 combo. As we waited to hear his score, it was only Justin and Mike left to ski a second run. When his score of 45.6 (putting him in 2nd position) was announced, we knew for certain that the gold would be going to a Canadian! The only question was which Canadian it would be….

Justin fired himself into the pipe with all the speed he could get, and this time nailed the landing of his doublecork 1260! Carrying his speed into a flatspin 360, to switch left 900, to switch right 720, and a final hit alleyoop flatspin 540, Justin came across the finish line with his arms raised and the crowd going berserk. With his teammate Mike at the top of the course waiting, Justin held his breath along with the rest of the crowd until the announcers voice carried the news to the crowd: With a staggering score of 48.0 points, Justin’ run had taken the lead!

At the top of the pipe, we now knew that Justin and Mike were guaranteed the gold and silver.  Mike knew that the only way to top Justin’s score was to put in a perfect performance, so when he took off on his first hit, he laid it all on the line, trying to improve on his first run’s double cork 1260 by hitting an even better grab on the second one. He landed slightly off balance, and when he wobbled slightly before recovering, he and the crowd knew that it would not be enough to recapture the first place position.

In the end it was Roz G with the women’s gold, Justin Dorey with the men’s gold, and Mike Riddle with the men’s silver. A perfect day for the athletes, and a fantastic start to what promises to be an epic season!

The team wishes to thank all its supporters, especially our incredible wax technician Kenny Nault from Swix, as well as Dr. Clark Konczak who has been providing physiotherapy for the team when they get smashed up.

The final results are below, and attached are some pictures of the team in action and on the podium, courtesy our friends at Freeskier.com and Newschoolers.com

Finals Men
1st- Justin Dorey (CAN)
2nd- Mike Riddle (CAN)
3rd- Simon Dumont (USA)
4th- Tucker Perkins (USA)
5th- AJ Kempainnen (FIN)
6th- David Wise (USA)
7th- Byron Wells (NZL)
8th- Thomas Krief (FRA)
9th- Torin Yate-Wallace (USA)
10- Benoit Valentin (FRA)
11- Patrick Baskins (USA)
12- Dan Marion (USA)

Finals Women
1st- Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN)
2nd- Jen Hudak (USA)
3rd- Jess Cumming (USA)
4th- Brita Sigourney (USA)
5th- Dania Assaly (CAN)
6th- Jamie Crane-Mauzy (USA)
7th- Anais Caradeux (FRA)
8th- Maddie Bowman (USA)
9th- Kimmy Sharp (USA)
10- Angeli VanLaanen (USA)
11- Keltie Hansen (CAN)
12- Devin Logan (USA)

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